Analyzing the Tesla Cybertruck’s Unusual Charging Profile
The Tesla Cybertruck has a unique charging profile. Here’s a rundown of how it compares to conventional EV profiles.
Tesla’s Cybertruck marks a departure from existing electric vehicles (EVs). With a jagged body built from stainless steel designed to be bulletproof, certainly nothing else on the market resembles the vehicle.
Tesla Cybertruck. Image used courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Recently, Cybertruck owners released the first documented reports of the vehicle’s charging profile, finally giving insight into the vehicle’s charging systems. How does it compare to conventional EV charging profiles?
A Standard EV Charging Profile
Electric vehicle charging profiles are crucial for understanding the interaction between EVs and the electrical grid and optimizing battery life and charging efficiency. A typical charging profile for an EV follows a distinct pattern shaped by the interplay of battery chemistry, charging technology, and user behavior.
Initially, when an EV with an empty battery is plugged into a charger, the process begins with a constant current (CC) phase. During this phase, the charger delivers power at a steady, maximum current that the battery can safely handle. This is where the bulk of the battery's charging occurs, with its voltage gradually rising as it absorbs energy. This phase is critical because it replenishes the majority of the battery's capacity in the shortest amount of time, which is why most vehicles charge from 20% to 80% faster than in any other state of charge range.
A typical EV charging curve. Image used courtesy of Hwang et al.
As the battery approaches its full capacity, the charging process transitions to a constant voltage (CV) phase. In this stage, the charger maintains a steady voltage, but the current supplied to the battery gradually decreases. This reduction in current is necessary to prevent overcharging and damage to the battery cells. The CV phase is slower than the CC phase and is designed to top off the battery, ensuring it reaches its full charge without compromising battery health.
Tesla Cybertruck Charging
Recently, Tesla Cybertruck owners provided the first public demonstrations of the vehicle’s charging profile.
Leveraging Tesla's first adoption of the 4680-format cells, the Cybertruck presents a unique charging curve, especially when compared to its predecessors equipped with the 2170-cell format. These new cells, while advanced, have shown some limitations in charging performance compared to the older cells.
The Cybertruck’s charging profile versus time. Image used courtesy of Our Cyber Life
In one demonstration, with a 250 kW peak power delivery charger, the vehicle began the session at a 14% state of charge. Following 20 minutes of preconditioning to optimize the battery temperature, the vehicle rapidly reached a peak charge rate of 255 kW but began to taper off early in the charging process. Notably, the vehicle charged from ~15% to ~50% in about 15 minutes, translating to roughly 112 miles of range. For reference, Tesla’s advertising claims it can charge up to 128 miles in 15 minutes.
By about 40% state of charge, the charging rate had decreased to 150 kW and continued to drop further to 100 kW at 60% before finally stabilizing at 75 kW around 65%. Overall, the entire charging session took about 50 minutes to reach around 90%.
The charging speed of a Tesla Cybertruck versus percent charged. Image used courtesy of Our Cyber Life
The Cybertruck's charging capability, particularly in the context of its large battery capacity, suggests a charging profile that is efficient yet constrained by the current charging infrastructure. While the Cybertruck can rapidly gain charge at peak rates, the tapering phenomenon observed in the V3 Supercharger test indicates a need for balancing optimal charging speeds and battery health. Notably, Tesla recently rolled out a V4 Supercharger capable of 350 kW, offering the potential for even faster charging times for Cybertruck owners.
An Inferior Tesla Charging Curve
As compared to other Tesla models, the Cybertruck offers an inferior charging curve. However, based on the reported results, the vehicle is roughly within its promised specifications and has the potential to improve even further when charged on a V4 Supercharger. Overall, the Cybertruck seems to be living up to the hype so far.